Thursday, April 30, 2009

Snip! Snip! Snip!

I've been slaving away and editing like a madwoman, but I just wanted to drop by real quick to tell you THAT IT IS POSSIBLE!

-- What's possible?

-- Deleting words.

-- No way.

-- Yes way.

-- But ... every single word in my manuscript is important! They're my BABIES! My BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS!

-- They may be important to YOU, but if (A) the READER won't miss them, (B) your story still makes sense after they're gone, (C) three sentences is just as good as a whole chapter, or (D) all of the above ... snip! snip! snip!

-- So how did you get rid of 9,000 words so quickly?

-- I combined two chapters.

-- Any other tips for deleting?

-- Adjectives and adverbs. Oh, and, let's say your characters' names are John and Susan. If John and Susan know each other, they do not have to ADDRESS each other in every other sentence. Cutting out names will help decrease your word count.

-- But I like words that end in -ly!

-- Spend your precious writing time on your dialogue and ACTION sequences instead.

-- You do realize you're having a conversation with yourself, right?

-- ... Yes.

* Blog posts like this happen when you don't eat/sleep because you're too busy writing, btw.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writing YA?

Then go here. Call it "teen reasearch." Call it "wonderful."

You're probably tired of hearing me say, "I'm editing THE UNICORN TAMER again," so I'm going to talk about something personal and *exciting*: I am going to Paris in May!! My mom and I were supposed to go the summer after my college graduation, but then real life (i.e. job) got in the way. 5 years later, we're FINALLY doing it and I am *dancing* with joy+other fuzzy feelings.

We'll be in Europe for 10 days, staying mostly in Paris and taking mini-trips to Versailles (I love the word "Versailles" ... it just sounds SO romantic to me), Champagne (official bubbly!), Brussels and Bruges (chocolate! mussels! beer! lace! chocolate! chocolate!).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Five-r

1. Two of my favorite bloggers, Jackson Pearce (author of AS YOU WISH and SISTERS RED) and Authoress (Secret Agent mastermind and fellow aspiring published author) are both working on new manuscripts and for a brief couple of days, the three of us were all hovering around the 20k mark. The ladies have now BOTH surpassed me in word count, reaching the mighty 30-40k.

I have everything outlined, I know what's going to happen, but I am not producing the word count that I want! Must. Stop. Tweaking. As. I. Go.

2. Deleting words is harder than writing them. Even though I feel like every paragraph I cut is like pulling off a sticky band-aid, it must be done.

3000 / 19000 words. 16% done!

3. It's been 2+ months since I've sent in my full to Firebrand ... my heart beats uncomfortably fast whenever I think about it, so I don't let myself think about it too often. I'm just hoping, and waiting, and ... honestly, would rather not hear unless it's good news. I'd rather just continue hoping.

4. Coolest thing #1: I got another request!!!! *confetti* Coolest thing #2: I received the request in a comment on my previous blog post! How neat is that? I don't know how Ms. Stampfel-Volpe found me, but I am ecstatic!

5. I got sucked into reading interviews yesterday. I. Could. Not. Look. Away. The interviews were long and thorough, seriously good reads. I really enjoyed "A Q&A With Agent Molly Friedrich" and even though the following advice is obvious, it still packed a great deal of punch (IMO):

Q: "Tell me what you're looking for when you're reading a first novel."
A: "That's so easy. I'm looking for the first page to be good. Then I'm looking for the second page to also be good. Really! The first page has to be good so that I will go to the second page and the third and the fourth."

Self: Just focus on the first page. Make the first page the best first page in the whole wide literary world. Then, work on the second page.

The interview was 5 pages long. If you don't have time to read it, I'll copy and paste my favorite parts here for you in the next couple of days. Now I'm off to do work and count down the hours till dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in the City!

Keep writing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm Sorry, I'm Already Seeing Someone

What I mean is ...


Don't you hate it when that happens?

This is why the dream of the full-time-stay-at-home-writer is so great. Because then there would be enough time in the day to meet your word count for your WIP, edit your completed manuscript, query agents, research the most random "need-to-know" things (latest research: the differences between the left and right side of the brain), and START NEW MANUSCRIPTS!

I really wish I could share my idea with you, at LEAST that would be somewhat satiating, BUT it's currently a sekrit.

Will try to distract myself by FULFILLING FRIENDS WITH DEATH word count and buying books. I am srsly struggling with my first-person voice. Before I change my mind and re-write to 3rd person, I'm going to read some first-person YA authors and try to learn from them.

Currently in my shopping cart:

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr
LET IT SNOW by John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson
DEVILISH by Maureen Johnson
HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE by Tina Ferraro
WINGS by Aprilynne Pike

What are you reading?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Entering Contests

I missed Miss Snark's monthly "Are You Hooked" call for submissions today. I am sooo bummed! That's two months of no entering.


One door closes, another window opens, right? Well, the window came in the form of QueryTracker's one sentence pitch contest! I sent in the following to try and entice Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary:

THE UNICORN TAMER, a Greek mythology meets Pokémon middle-grade fantasy that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen's HOOT and Brandon Mull's FABLEHAVEN, is about 13-year-old Emma Brown who, after the mysterious disappearance of her mom, enters a steampunk version of our dimension where endangered creatures such as blue whales, centaurs, and pegasi are protected from ruthless Hunters by teenagers.

I know ... it's a mouthful! I hope she likes it! *crosses fingers*

Friday, April 3, 2009

Back Seat Writing

My writing has taken a back seat to life these past few weeks. Life, death, boyfriend, being there for my friends - all took top priority.

Come April 6th, it's all gonna shift baby. Life is gonna move on back and writing is going to be front and center. By the end of May, I have two goals:

1. Complete the first draft of FRIENDS WITH DEATH
2. Shrink THE UNICORN TAMER by 20,000 words.

I have - once again - halted the query process. My number 1 concern right now is running out of MG agents to query. Last week, I learned that a friend-of-a-friend, who is a super duper talented woman, is working for the excellent Andrea Brown literary agency! Mary - said talented lady - has offered to crit my ms and query which is beyond generous. So I'm taking a break from querying so I can shrink my ms to a more appropriate MG size, apply Stephen Barbara's advice, and wait for Mary's crit.

April is going to be the month of 70,000 words and I'm pumped!

Do you guys have trouble balancing family, friends, sleep, work, pilates, video games, TV, showering, writing, editing, etc. as well?